WASHINGTON – The House just went into its August recess but Capitol Hill is abuzz with political intrigue over the fate of one of the most powerful men in Congress, Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, whose hold on power suddenly may be in serious jeopardy.
The questions of the hour:
- What will Boehner do to keep his job?
- Would he cut a deal with Democrats to stay in power?
- If so, what would he give them?
It turns out, the speaker may be in deep trouble and surprisingly vulnerable after U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., introduced a resolution last week to remove Boehner from his post that many had considered far-fetched.
Boehner, a conservative nemesis, reportedly tried to call a quick vote to kill the resolution before the House adjourned but was shocked to discover he could not be certain he had enough votes to prevail.
In fact, Boehner’s job may be hanging on just five votes.
That’s because conservatives may need to persuade just five more Republican colleagues to vote for the resolution in order to remove Boehner as speaker.
This is why:
- With 434 House members, 218 votes would be needed to oust Boenher.
- If all 188 Democrats voted against him, conservatives would need only 30 Republican votes for the resolution to pass.
- 25 Republicans previously voted to remove Boehner.
- That means conservatives may need to generate only 5 more votes to dethrone the speaker.
- 30 to 60 conservative House Republicans already often vote against Boehner, to varying degrees.
WND’s assessment of those numbers was confirmed by a well-placed Capitol Hill source.
And those numbers add up to sudden jeopardy for Boehner.
But the speaker still has a potent ace in the hole he could play: Make a deal with Democrats for their support.
“The speaker will cut a deal with Nancy (Pelosi) as he has done in the past. This is nothing new,” former Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, told WND.
But Democrats can count, too. And they can tell it’s a buyer’s market for their votes. With Boehner possibly having nowhere else to turn, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., may try to exact a high price for the Democrat’s support.
“The speaker’s problem will be, if he does take action with Nancy to keep his job, the conservative opposition could explode,” observed Stockman. “Hopefully, they will fight on the floor to stop any such action.”
Immune from retaliation, Stockmann felt free to talk. But House conservatives were hesitant to go on the record about Boehner’s prospects and whether support to oust him is growing, apparently because of possible repercussions if the speaker survives.
They were also reluctant to speculate on what Boehner might offer Democrats, although one Capitol Hill source did confide they were concerned he might propose to bring up the Export-Import bank for a reauthorization vote. Conservatives revile the bank as corporate welfare for big business.
A source described as a senior conservative movement leader who has had many personal and direct discussions with various House GOP members told Breitbart there are already enough votes to oust Bohener.
“They have alienated an enormous number of members and they have only increased that number,” said the source.
Discontent with Boehner is said to have grown as he has facilitated the passage of such Obama administration priorities as the huge Cromnibus spending bill and a massive trade bill giving the president virtually unlimited negotiation authority, all while refusing to defund Obamacare and executive immigration amnesty.
Consequently, Boehner’s leadership team was reportedly stunned to learn they didn’t have the votes last week to prevail if they brought Meadow’s resolution up for a vote.
They reportedly wanted to embarass Meadows with a quick vote, but, the source said, “What they found out was the exact opposite. They found out bad things would happen, that literally they would be calling the vote without knowing what would happen. Therefore, they did not call the vote and now they have this issue hanging over John Boehner’s head for the next five weeks.”
As WND reported on Thursday, conservative opponents of the speaker are now hoping Americans at town halls across the country will be encouraged to ask their Republican representatives why Boehner, and the rest of Congress, are merely rubber-stamping President Obama’s agenda and not doing what many voters feel they were primarily elected to do: defund executive amnesty and Obamacare.
The hope for conservatives is that, if dissatisfaction with Boehner gains steam in town halls across the country, more and more members will be emboldened to oppose the speaker.
“I hope the talk show hosts who are so frustrated would pick up on this thing and beat the drum so loud that other members feel like they can be encouraged to join this effort to change the leadership of the House,” said Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., last week.
“Over the next five weeks, if enough grassroots conservatives can voice their frustration with a failed status quo and failed leadership of John Boehner—as members attend town hall meetings after town hall meetings—and when they come back it will be more difficult for John Boehner to keep his Speaker’s gavel,” said Breitbart’s source.
Conservatives could also hold the vote over Boehner’s head, because the speaker is desperate to make a deal with the Obama administration on a number of issues.
Establishment Republicans want a vote to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank because, according to critics, it is supported by big businesses which donate heavily to top politicians.
Boehner also wants to pass some form of “comprehensive” immigration reform, meaning, it would include amnesty, which GOP leaders apparently still believe would help them at the polls in 2016, despite evidence to the contrary provided by the soaring popularity of presidential candidate Donald Trump.
But conservatives could use the threat of a vote on Meadow’s resolution to do more than just try to keep Boehner from enacting Obama’s agenda.
When the House goes back into session, any member at any time could offer the motion to vacate the chair and remove Boehner as Speaker of the House as a privileged resolution, which would mean Boehner’s leadership team could not prevent a full floor vote.
And, if conservatives play their cards right and get the Democrats to play along, as well as enough Republicans, and wait for just the right moment, they numbers suggest they might actually be able pull off their palace coup and eject Boehner from his speaker post.
Follow Garth Kant @DCgarth